Friday, July 12, 2013

Concrete Mosaics - Shimmer and Shine!

 A concrete mosaic is like a treasure chest you create yourself, and it can really let your personality shine through. 

While you can vary your concrete garden pieces by using some that are purely rustic, adding a mosaic aspect to your garden ornaments adds a little flash n' dash to neutral surfaces. Inclusion of colored glass, marbles, dragon's tears and other found objects enhances the flat gray of concrete adding color, focus and interest.

There are many way to work with concrete mosaics, but here are three I find myself using repeatedly.

1. The most simple and immediate is to insert the mosaic pieces directly into the concrete surface.  

Shaped glass pieces and marbles were used sparingly for this beautiful heart stepping stone.
Found objects make good ornaments as well and can be easily set into the concrete surface. Broken china and buttons were used on this flower stone.
Coins collected on foreign travels create an interesting spiral in this example below. 

All three of these mosaics were created using the same technique.  The basic shape is sculpted and formed into the desired design.  The surface is smoothed and allowed to set for 5 minutes. In the meantime, the pieces that will form the mosaic design are selected and put together as they will be applied to the concrete surface.  This is done in advance so that when it is time to insert them into the wet concrete, it can be done with dispatch as the concrete is continually getting harder and soon will be too hard to insert anything.

The glass pieces are placed on the surface of the wet concrete and then each piece is carefully tapped to the level of the concrete surface.  No need to be concerned if concrete smears onto the glass pieces. This can easily be cleaned off later.
When the concrete has set and hardened, usually over night, a plastic or wire brush is used to clean off dried concrete residue on the glass pieces.  Finally,the finished piece is hosed off and is ready for placement in the 
garden. This unusual looking fish is made in a similar manner to a hand-sculpted stepping stone but will serve as a stone underneath a downspout to direct water away from the house.

2. Another mosaic method involves casting a concrete piece designed with a recess for mosaic work.  The frog stone is an example of this technique.  The back of the frog is recessed for mosaic work.  After it comes out of the mold and is cleaned, fresh concrete is mixed and poured into the recess and then the mosaic pieces are applied similar to the first method.

3. The little owl stake is an example of a third mosaic technique that offers the most control to the artist.  Acrylic tile adhesive is applied to each piece of glass and then put in place on the owls body. The adhesive is allowed to dry overnight and then the mosaic is grouted with the same material used for tile floors and walls.

Note:  If you are a tufa fan, (hypertufa), you can also mix concrete and hypertufa for a custom piece, as we did for the Kansas City Live Art Attack.

You can create your own beautiful mosaic pieces yourself, and they make excellent garden memorial pieces for honoring pets or loved ones. You can even try incorporating pieces of a cherished dish or ceramic item for a new way to display it. Learn more by contacting From the Summer's Garden today. Shine on! 

1 comment:

  1. Nice article and great knowledge about glass and stone mosaic . I love this story and enjoy with your words!